18 Apr 2017

Pay rise on the cards for caregivers

9:10 am on 18 April 2017

Women working in the caregiving sector look set for a pay rise with reports the government is to announce today it has agreed to a $500 million pay deal.

Dementia, Alzheimer's, generic pic, hands, elderly hands

Photo: 123RF

The New Zealand Herald has reported that low-paid care workers would receive pay rises of between $3 and $7 an hour, depending on the work.

In 2013, caregiver Kristine Bartlett, successfully argued in the Employment Court her low hourly pay rate was a result of gender discrimination under the Equal Pay Act.

Prime Minister Bill English told Morning Report Cabinet would discuss settling the historic pay equity case for state-subsidised careworkers this afternoon, and would make an announcement today.

Ms Bartlett argued that if the female-dominated caregiver sector employed mostly men, they would be paid at a higher rate.

Tax specialist and Labour Party candidate Deborah Russell told Morning Report it was very exciting for workers in the sector who finally going to be paid a proper wage.

Deborah Russell

Deborah Russell Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

"But it is the principal of the thing too that's very exciting, that acknowledgement that women have been underpaid in some industries just because they are women."

Dr Russell said it could have a flow-on effects for people working in those type of jobs in the private sector.

She said nurses and teachers might also raise pay equity claims in the future.

Mr English said he was open to meeting pay equity campaigners who would be at parliament today.

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